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Medieval Wall Paintings

Medieval Wall Paintings

by Roger Rosewell


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What medieval wall paintings remain in English churches tend to be shadows of their former selves – rare fragments of art that have survived not only the Reformation, but successive waves of iconoclastic zeal and unsympathetic restoration. The whitewashed walls of most parish churches belie the riot of color and decoration that once adorned them, but the remnants of paintings tucked into corners or rescued from later layers of paint help us to understand the role of art in medieval religion. Roger Rosewell here offers a guide to the role played by medieval wall paintings, as religious, didactic and commemorative works of art, telling the stories of those who created them and those who used them on a daily basis. He also compares and contrasts religious and domestic wall paintings and uses beautiful color photography throughout to illustrate the story.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780747812937
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 04/22/2014
Series: Shire Library Series , #767
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Roger Rosewell is the News and Features Editor of Vidimus, the international online magazine about medieval stained glass. Educated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, he is the author of an award-winning study of medieval wall paintings and is a member of the Royal Photographic Society. He also writes at

Read an Excerpt

This book is about these paintings in churches. It explains why they were made, the subjects they showed, how painters created them, and their relationship with other arts. It also describes what triggered their destruction, what replaced them, and the efforts of modern day conservators to save them for future generations. A separate chapter discusses domestic wall paintings of the period. A Guide to Further Reading and a Gazetteer of places where interesting examples of wall paintings can be seen is also included.

Table of Contents

Introduction / The Painted Church / The Purpose of Wall Paintings / The Subjects: The Bible and Saints / The Subjects: Death and Judgement / The Subjects: Pieties and Transgressions / Text and Other Subjects / Making Wall Paintings / Reformation and Afterwards / Domestic Wall Paintings / Survival and Conservation / Further Reading / Gazeteer / Index

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